The current beef with SUHSD is far beyond the obscene move by the district regarding benefits. It is about the district continuing to violate our agreements and bargain in bad faith. We took that increase in class sizes as a way to save the jobs of our colleagues and help prevent even more furlough days which would have kept students at home. That agreement was set to end in June but now Brand has said he plans to ignore that part of our contract language as well.
We knew that during our tough budget times, tough decisions had to be made. However, as we can see with Brand's contract and the massive number of ipads floating around our district, we are starting to recover from those tough budget times. Now is the time to acknowledge the sacrifices that everyone - students in particular-made during those tough times.
Restore class sizes to "reasonable" levels instead of fighting to eliminate all forms of class caps. 31:1 ratio counts all adults on campus with a teaching credential - not just those in the classroom. That means teachers on special assignment (ie doing admin work) or teachers in special education classrooms with much lower ratios (rightly so) increase the number of students in regular classes. Do not freeze salaries for three years when we haven't had so much as a cost-of-living raise since 2008 while increasing what we pay for benefits, essentially giving us a pay cut - in addition to the pay cut from furlough days last year.
All we want is respect and acknowledgement for how hard we work and all we have done for our students during these incredibly trying times. Working in this district has been a nightmare for many many years but we still believe that our kids deserve an outstanding education and so we stay and we fight. We know Dr. Brand doesn't care, but the community has the power to make the board care. Look at what happened when you showed up to the meeting for Dr. Gandara. Imagine if we had done that sooner! It's time for Brand to go back to his tennis playing retirement days.
While I admire your commitment to revealing the deep corruption in the Sweetwater District, please do not admonish me or my colleagues for not attending school board meetings. You asked where we were on all those Monday nights? We are at home grading papers, making lesson plans, getting master's degrees, taking care of our homes and families, and worrying about the welfare of other peoples' children. You are an intelligent woman--you already know this.
Sweetwater teachers are frustrated and discouraged. Brave community members rail against the district monthly and spend volunteer hours gathering data and composing well-developed arguments. Thank you for this work. But I am sure you can understand that Sweetwater is OUR EMPLOYER. Imagine for a moment how embarrassed we are. Imagine how much complete and total nonsense we have to put up with on a DAILY basis. This issue of breaking our contract and imposing NON-NEGOTIATED rate hikes is one straw of many. The problems in this district are making us figuratively and literally SICK. Everyday, in good faith, we arrive at schools across the South Bay because what we believe in most that we will NEVER give up on is the power of public education and the good lives that our students deserve. We might not have the energy to scream at the brick wall that is the current board (with one exception), but we do have the energy to do our best in our classrooms every single school day.
In short, we are "hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed." I believe you will see us on Monday--and when you do, stand with us. We will fight, just as we did for Prop 30 so our schools would be properly funded. We will fight, just as we did for Local Control Funding so we could help decide where our money should be spent to help our communities. This is the money Brand wants to control--he is holding our benefits hostage until we give him, through negotiations, the right to control ALL OF THE MONEY. We will NOT. Nor will we allow him to bully us out of what is contractually ours.
We will fight. We always do.
Dorian Hargrove 4:30 p.m., May 4
Jeff Smith 4 p.m., May 4
Matt Potter 3:30 p.m., May 4
Don Bauder 2:30 p.m., May 4
Robert Bush 11 a.m., May 4
Don Bauder 7:30 a.m., May 4
Daniel Powell 7 a.m., May 4
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